KENNEDY: California Coast


LOS ANGELES – Irwindale Speedway hosted several touring series that were making their annual racing visits to the Los Angeles County facility in mid-August.

With five divisions present, there were 110 race cars in the pits for the track’s highest car count since 2011. INEX Legend Cars and Bandoleros raced on the third-mile. SPEARS Southwest Tour Series stock cars, Lucas Oil Modifieds and SRL S2 Series stock cars used the progressively banked half-mile. Some 4,682 spectators watched from the grandstand, 12 suites and pit area in 80+ degree shirt-sleeve weather. Competitors raced 296 laps including a trophy dash and 25-lap B-main for modifieds.

Southwest Tour: A season-high 23 cars were in the pits and 21 raced in a 100-lap feature. It was round seven of ten scheduled races at seven tracks in four states. Tour track sizes range from a quarter-mile to a third-mile, two three-eights, two half-miles and the mile Pikes Peak track in Colorado. The Irwindale feature had four lead changes among three leaders — Greg Voigt, rookie Christian McGhee, 16, and rookie Garret Archer, 18. Voigt made his winning pass on lap 80 and became the fourth different 2014 winner in the series.

Local favorite/NASCAR super late model point leader Toni Marie McCray made her SRL debut in her new Hamke chassis from North Carolina. She started ninth, got tapped and spun in traffic on the backstretch during the first lap. She continued without contact but had to restart last — 21st. She charged forward in the low groove and at times made it three-wide as she moved forward rapidly to fourth place at lap 50. Irwindale’s bandolero, legends and late model driver McGhee led laps 4-46 in his SRL debut and was still fourth on lap 90. A cut tire and vibration slowed his pace and he finished 12th, the last car on the lead lap.

Voigt beat Bakersfield’s Derek Thorn, a three-time 2014 Southwest Tour winner, by .301 of a second. Third place McCray trailed Thorn by 0.123 after passing Archer on lap 98. Series leading rookie Archer settled for fourth. Two-time 2014 series winner Jeremy Doss placed fifth with all 21 starters racing at the checkers. The race was the first of three races for the 2014 Patricia Pettit Memorial Trophy and awarded an extra $5,003 from Jim Pettit to the winner in addition to the regular purse. The father of three-time SRL championship driver Jim Pettit II offered the bonus to honor his late wife. MAV-TV Network taped the race for airing Saturday, October 18 from 5:00-6:00 pm ET.

Lucas Oil Modifieds 75: A season-high car count of 35 modifieds came from eight states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas. There were eight different chassis builders. The series scheduled ten 2014 race dates at seven tracks in four states — Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah. The 30-car feature paid $1,500 to win and $300 to start.

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Tim Kennedy
Tim Kennedy is a veteran motorsports journalist. He worked as the CRA sprint car publicity director for 11 years beginning in 1968 and his Racing Scene column has been a motorsports staple since 1979.